Astronomers have measured the thickness of the crust of a neutron star for the first time. The technique, which involves studying how the dense stellar corpse reverberates during a “starquake”, may one day reveal the nature of the exotic matter thought to lie at the star’s core. Neutron stars form when stars up to 40 times the mass of the Sun explode at the end of their lives and leave behind super-dense, spinning corpses. The corpses are thought to be made of neutrons, although their incredible densities have led some researchers to propose their centres contain a state of matter found nowhere else in the universe.
‘Starquake’ explosion rips neutron star open